Area D Brenda Leigh brought forward her list of advisory planning commission appointments at the last Strathcona Regional District meeting. File photo/Campbell River Mirror

Strathcona Regional District members question planning commission process

Campbell River mayor suggests advertising to public to find members to fill boards

Some Strathcona Regional District members want to open up the process of finding members for electoral areas’ advisory planning commissions (APC).

At the Jan. 9 board meeting, some directors asked whether the positions should not be advertised to the general public.

“I would be a lot more comfortable with an open, transparent process,” said Andy Adams, Campbell River’s mayor and one of the council directors on the SRD board.

He said he had trouble supporting a solicited list of names for the APCs.

The APCs assist electoral area directors and the SRD with planning issues in each electoral area. The commission in question at the most recent meeting was the Area D commission. Director Brenda Leigh had a list of a half dozen people to sit on the board, which included a couple of additional names to four that had been presented in advance of the meeting.

READ MORE: Subdivision south of Campbell River will protect wildlife corridors

Area C Director Jim Abram responded to the sugestion to advertise positions, saying that having APCs are not a requirement for electoral areas, but if a regional district has them, it is each director’s responsibility to bring forward commission members.

“That’s what the provincial government tells us is the process,” he said.

Area A Director Gerald Whalley supported the choice of area directors to pick their own APCs, saying going out to the public would create “hard feelings” in electoral area communities.

“To have a call for interested parties is just stirring the pot,” he said. “It’s just better all around to appoint those people are appropriate.”

Leigh defended her appointments, saying they were the best people and solicited interest while campaigning door to door for the election in the fall.

“I’ve never had any complaint about the advisory planning commission for Area D. I think they’re a huge asset to this regional district in the advice that they’ve been providing,” she said. “I really don’t see the value in advertising it.”

Adams responded by saying his suggestion to advertise for APC members was a way to get in touch with ideal candidates that might have moved to a community recently.

Leigh, in turn, said if there was a new candidate available in an area, the director can always add them to the commission later.

“I am always recruiting for the APC,” she said.

The commissions can have as many as 15 members or as few as three. Leigh added that she prefers to keep her APC at six people as opposed to a dozen members because the smaller number makes it easier to ensure the APC can achieve quorum for meetings.

The board passed a motion to accept the list of Leigh’s appointments to her area’s APC, which is made up of Jon Ackroyd, Peter Laing, Marcy Prior, Patricia Boham, Terry Jacques and Malcolm Wilson.